Do You Believe in Legend? is the second book in the Stars of Heros series by Ani Manjikian. I think that this second book in the series is better than first book, Spirit of the Lone Horse. I still like the first book in the series. This tale is a combination of science fiction and fantasy featuring horses, equine shape-shifters, seasoned with a nice dose of time travel in a military setting.
The series plot is well developed and the saga of the Mason family and associates continues to unfold. Since the 19th century the family of Jo Mason has pursued a dream of a future in which people travel among the stars. Because of unexplained memories she carries, Jo Mason has questions about her past and her future. But, no one who can answer her questions is telling her.
I have a strange way of meeting important people in my life. They appear out of nowhere and stay as long as they are needed or want to. This case was no different. Shortly after I published Spirit, I was looking for reviewers. I stumbled into a Google+ group where a reviewer was looking for authors. I made contact with Jen Winters. She referred me to her mother Lavern, who became my second review overall, and the first verified purchase one.
To this day I’ve kept in touch with Lavern and Jen. When it came close to prepping Legend for publishing, I asked Lavern to help me with beta reading. Later, I would bring in a friend I knew from the dog park as another set of eyes. Between these two ladies, I learned a lot.
I’m very grateful to Lavern for her insight. Legend wouldn’t be the story it is without her help.
Seems I have bad habit of telling not showing when I want to get past parts that I feel are relevant, but don’t need that much exploration. Great for initial drafts when I’m trying to get the ideas out, but not the final copy. Definitely not the final copy. Bores and distracts the readers among other things.
Even as the days drew closer to publication, I was still finding places where I was stumbling with the telling not showing. Chapters 22 through 24 and 35 especially. Jo’s whole flashback to her last argument being a mirror of what happened to me in real life without so much foul language or violence wouldn’t be in the book without her prodding.
Does Lavern’s involvement in Legend this invalidate her review in any way? No. She saw the story mature, sure, but like everyone else she didn’t she the final copy (or the second edited copy after Smashwords found an invalid link in my TOC) until I released it. Her ability to step back and offer an objective viewpoint is definitely seen in her words. They come from her experience of being a reviewer of Spirit first. Also, I did not compensate her in any way for her help or the review.
I’m looking forward to Lavern’s help with my third book and as many as she is able to do beyond that. Though I am a little worried that some of the content in book three might offend her sensible notions. I’m a better writer because of her and what I learn from my reviews. Legend doesn’t have as many details because of the complaints of Spirit having too many. Other than learning to trust my instincts again and following a strict five draft method so I don’t get caught up in infinite editing, I still need more reviews of Legend, so I know where to go with the rest of my series from a reader’s POV.